For an entire year, life for almost everybody has become miserable. No handshakes and no hugs, no celebration gatherings and no visits to any relative’s home.
In a way we became cave dwellers surrounded by jungles of buildings that hold supermarkets and department stores. All the familiar eateries were open only for takeout. Seating was not permitted. Some of them still do not allow eating inside.
The situation was more difficult for the elderly. They were vulnerable and needed to be more careful. This also meant they were more emotionally affected because they could not see their children, grandchildren or great grandchildren in person.
As the pandemic slowed, things appeared to be inching toward normalcy. We still had to be cautious and tread gingerly. We must wear a mask to enter certain places. We must be vaccinated. As Dr. Faucci, the good doctor says, vaccination saves lives. There is proof.
Still, some would not care to be vaccinated. They have 100 percent rights over their body. And we can’t do anything about that. But when microscopic balls of saliva from their mouths contaminate the surroundings and the virus rushes from one to the other, that puts people in danger. In the name of “our First Amendment rights” they give an invitation to a calamity.
On the one hand there are those who want the pandemic stopped in its track and everything to become normal. On the other hand there are people who behave as if nothing has happened. They ignore the pandemic and its effects. If the effect were a low-grade headache or a common cold, it could be forgotten or ignored. But when the effect is death or possibility of death, then it is impossible to forget. The catastrophe is real and no amount of pretense can help us ignore the pandemic. Many of us lost friends and family members to COVID-19. Those who contracted but survived remain in our thoughts and prayer.
It is a matter of pride for both Frederick County and Frederick City that the leaders of both the areas worked diligently and kept the number of affected fairly low. They made the vaccine available and convinced people to participate in the program. The magic happened and the spread of the pandemic stopped. The rate of survival of the affected people was impressive. The credit must go to the healthcare workers of Frederick.
Both Democrats and Republicans do not see eye to eye. But at a local level they are thrown together in neighborhoods. Their children go to the same school; they attend the same church and go to the same church picnic; their children play volleyball together. The list goes on and on. That is why what happens in Washington cannot always be valid in Frederick. Frederick is different and there are numerous men and women from a very different era who have helped keep it that way.
Many of them grew up here at a very different time when Frederick was a sleepy town, when farmers from Hagerstown and west rested here on their way to the slaughterhouses of Pig Town, Baltimore. These men and women went to high school in Frederick and married a friend or a friend’s friend from this area. They worked for the telephone company, the government, the gas company and others. No matter what they did, family for them came first. Not very many young women worked in their time. So the young mothers at work had to rely on each other. Over the years, they and their families have become each other’s support system. There is a common bond among these old timers. Together, they raise money for good causes and volunteer at the hospital, the food bank, the Salvation Army and the like. COVID-19 put a damper on everything. For 16 months they could not meet anybody and see each other. The telephone was a blessing, no doubt but nothing can substitute a hug or a wet kiss from a grandchild.
Anadi Naik writes from Frederick. His books are: Song of Satan, Nineteenth of November, Blown Away, A Man of Humility available at www.amazon.com and Barnes and Noble book stores.